Triad Silver Monitor, Surround, Sub Speaker System Page 2
Speaking of big sound, the Triad system didn't have much trouble driving either our good-sized listening room or my acoustically awkward living room (cathedral ceilings, lots of open space, odd angles, etc.) with soundtrack material. Now, let's maintain reason here: This ensemble is not going to drive a warehouse-sized area or sound like a megawatt/giant-speaker setup in a smaller area. However, it does offer a sound that's easily comparable in size and power to systems featuring large front speakers and large subs, only with half of the hassle and footprint. That's impressive. I uncorked my newly acquired Phantom Menace DVD and got a good ride, even without exploiting the disc's Dolby EX capabilities. As with music, the system's stage was large and impressive—even more so in multichannel, of course. Some quick front-to-back and side-to-side pans, such as those of the circulating spy droid of chapter 19 or the pod race of chapter 25, revealed little in the way of gaps in the stage. Also, the Silver Surrounds did a nice job of walking the fine line between not giving away their location and having enough presence to keep the image from breaking down and losing momentum once it hit the rear channels. The subs (I added a second PowerSub here) and front speakers maintained their amicable relationship throughout and sounded more like a cohesive speaker pair than four separate elements.
When it came to center-channel reproduction, the Silver Monitor's size finally caught up with it. Of course, even systems with large fronts and large subs usually use a small center channel. As you've heard me say many times, the average soundtrack simply places too much emphasis on the center channel for a small speaker to pull it off completely. Even large, full-range center channels can run out of gas on occasion. When you consider that the Silver Surround is small and not a dedicated center-channel design, it did what it could quite well. Dialogue was clear and intelligible, albeit expectedly boxy at times. It only ran into trouble when the soundtrack asked it to drive a large amount of dialogue, music, and effects at the same time, at which point it compressed like virtually all centers do to some degree under these conditions. All in all, this center is par for the course.
At the end of the day, it's not likely that size will ever enter your mind as you listen to the Triad system—unless your design-conscious spouse is thanking you for not taking over the room or your back seems oddly well-aligned after a day of setup. When the dust clears, sound is all that counts, and the Triad InRoom Silver system's sound reproduction might win over more than a few small-speakerphobes. Its performance with movies and music is rock-solid, thanks in no small part to a well-executed and surprisingly musical little subwoofer that gives this system the cohesion that so many others (large and small) lack.
Make no mistake, though: You're paying a considerable amount of money for convenience. At just under $10,000 for the system I reviewed, Triad has placed themselves in a realm of exceptionally stiff competition. As good as this system sounds, there are some big boys in this price range that are simply spectacular (hernias notwithstanding). Still, an excellent speaker system is an excellent speaker system, and this Triad ensemble is just that, no matter how you measure it.
• All of the convenience of small speakers with few of the sonic compromises
• Highly engaging subwoofer performance
• Quality dipolar surrounds